Land Rovering via the Burma Road on the “Vinayaka Missions’ ROAD TO INDIA”POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 09 August 2016
By YAMIN VONG
FOUR Malaysians will pilot two Land Rover Defenders bound for India over the old World War II road through ?Moreh, Myanmar? to Imphal, India.
The 46-day adventure beginning on August 15, a date that marks the 69th anniversary of India’s independence, will be flagged off by Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, T S Tirumurti, from his residence in Kuala Lumpur.
For the team leader, Rate De Silva, it will be the culmination of one of his dreams – to drive a Land Rover to India.
“In fact, that was the raison d’etre for the formation of the Land Rover Owners Club of Malaysia (LROM) when six founding members met in the garage of our member’s house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail 30 years ago,” said De silva, LROM president.
“That night, we ratified our commitment to start the Land Rover owners club of Malaysia with a view of organising a trip to India via the WWII Myanmar-India corridor of Tamu–Imphal–Dimapur. In those days, Myanmar’s borders were closed to third country land transport and the overland passage seemed a distant dream.
“But not anymore. The land borders have started opening and it’s time to start what we said we would do 30 years ago,” De Silva aka Atek said.
Atek (below, right) will drive a recently acquired Defender 2.4 stationwagon and his co-pilot is LROM Hon Secretary, Alyna Tai.
The second Land Rover is commanded by Datuk Seri Dr S. Sharavanan, the Managing Director of Penang International Dental College (PIDC) and the Pro-Chancellor of Vinayaka Missions International University College (VMIUC), Malaysia. He will drive his 2012 Defender 2.4 stationwagon, nicknamed ‘Bheema’, on this upcoming event, the “Vinayaka Missions ROAD TO INDIA”.
Datuk Seri Dr S Sharavanan, a Bangalore University trained radiologist, is a resident Malaysian by choice. His birthplace is Salem, near Chennai, South India where the family founded the Vinayaka Missions University, one of the largest private educational Organisations in India. It owns and operates four medical colleges.
“I had many Malaysian friends when we were studying in Manipal and I visited Malaysia often since 1989. I love the diversity and natural environment of Malaysia and the genuine warmth of all races in Malaysia and decided to put my roots here. In 2003 I migrated to Malaysia with a business plan,” said Sharavanan.
“I set up the Penang International Dental College. While busy stabilising the business operations I saw a picture of a Land Rover Defender in a motor magazine one day. It suddenly struck a chord in me and stirred the adventurous side in me.
“I checked it out in the showroom and was surprised to note that this Defender cost a lot more than modern 4X4s like Toyota Hilux and the Isuzu D’Max. That’s when I learnt about the pedigree and class of the Land Rover and I bought my first Defender in 2011, a 110 Twin-Cab.
“I took part in some local 4×4 events and in 2012, I bought another 110 Defender, this time the stationwagon”
“For the past two years, I’ve been talking with Atek about the LROM’s dream trip to India”. said Sharavanan.
“I said to myself, here is a gentleman who has the same dream of over landing to India, my motherland; let’s put in a bit of money, sponsor the event, and let’s roll. That’s why this event is called the Vinayaka Missions ROAD TO INDIA”.
“I had come from Salem with a young family in tow to Kuala Lumpur to venture out on my own. It is emotionally and sentimentally significant for me personally as I’m making a return trip in style from Kuala Lumpur to Salem by an over landing expedition”.
“Vinayaka Missions is the name of the education group that my Father Dr A Shanmugasundaram founded in Salem in 1982. The word ‘Missions’ is because my father believed that education is a social service, and medical education is a noble service to humanity – he made that particular goal as our Mission”, said Sharavanan.
With the plan to have a common set of Land Rover Defenders and engines so as to minimise the load of spare parts, Atek will pack a windscreen, alternator, starter motor, brake vacuum pump, one fan belt, bulbs, fuses and miscellaneous hardware.
Each Defender has a roof tent for the more than 20 nights of camping and two spare tyres (Maxxis 265×85 x16 for Atek’s standard suspension and taller/slimmer Maxxis 255 x 85 x 16 for ‘Bheema’s Old Man Emu lifted suspension).
Land Rover and overland travel enthusiasts can also check out the “Vinayaka Missions ROAD TO INDIA” on ? ?www.X-men4X4.com and X-men4X4 fb? and Sharavanan’s twitter at @SALEMSHARAVANAN
PICS in gallery below:
The one-piece Hannibal aluminum roof rack for Defender. Note the full length reinforcing strip in the rain gutter.
The best roof tent from South Africa
Warn electric winch with plasma rope
Rate De Silva fixing two LED spot lights, grade A, made in China